Video on the Web, Billions Served

Online video viewing in the U.S. broke new records in the month of December,
according to the latest research by ComScore’s Video Metrix service.

The research firm’s stats indicate U.S. Internet users watched a staggering 10
billion videos in the month of December, with Google’s YouTube service
leading the charge as the most viewed destination site for videos.

“YouTube represents almost a third of all videos viewed on the Web for
December,” Andrew Lipsman, senior analyst at ComScore (NASDAQ: SCOR), told
InternetNews.com. “And YouTube’s
total
keeps going up. It’s 12 percent higher than November.”

Google’s combined video sites accounted for 43 percent of unique video
viewers in December. The next five, Fox Interactive Media (23), Yahoo
(20.8), Time Warner (14.8), Viacom Digital (13.3) and Microsoft (10.9) were
the only other Web properties to reach double digits in percentage share.

As in search, a combination of Microsoft and Yahoo’s share would represent more
formidable competition to Google but still trail the market leader.
Microsoft is trying to acquire Yahoo.

[cob:Related_Articles]Lipsman said it was hard to draw any correlation between the Hollywood
writer’s strike and increased online video viewing. “I suspect more TV
viewers are simply switching from their favorite shows to sports and news
programs,” he said. “But we have seen in the past few months a strong
increase in online video viewing, which suggests there is a need for fresh
content that sites like YouTube fulfills.”

If the writers strike is a factor, Lipsman said its resolution won’t
necessarily mean a downturn in online video. He said when consumers learn
new habits there’s often a “step effect” that leads to longer term adoption.

For example, for years there’s been an uptick in consumers
trying online shopping at Christmas time. “But after the holidays we don’t see a big drop off, the numbers stay at that level and then go up again a year later,” said
Lipsman. He thinks online video could also hang onto its new viewers and
continue growing as new ones step in.

Google/YouTube is also involved in lawsuits by media companies that say the site is a haven for illegally
posted copyrighted material. Google has said it removes any videos it finds
shouldn’t be posted and is developing more sophisticated video ID
technology
to filter out and more quickly identify such material.

Overall, online viewers watched an average of 3.4 hours of video in
December, a 34 percent gain since the beginning of 2007. There were 77.6
million viewers on YouTube, who averaged a little more than a video per day
for the month (41.6 videos each). Next was Fox’s MySpace.com with 40.5
million viewers and 8.2 videos each for the month.

YouTube viewers were just about in synch with overall average viewing time,
though its sheer volume also had great influence on the final numbers.
ComScore said the average time U.S. consumers spent watching a video on
YouTube was 2.6 minutes, while the average for videos on all sites was 2.8
minutes.

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